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Selected Reviews for "Bel Canto Arias "

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BEL CANTO ARIAS (Virgin Classics – 54546152 [2])


“Here’s another crackerjack coloratura mezzo soprano.  …her swaggering trouser roles (Orsini, Smeton, Malcolm, Arsace in opera by Donizetti and Rossini) are simply spectacular.  The vocal weight and color and the amazing runs and decorations could raise bumps on a stone.” 
Allan Ulrich, The Examiner (San Francisco), September 30, 2003

“Before becoming known as a potential and welcome interpreter of Baroque roles (Rinaldo) and as an exceptional Monteverdian (Penelope in Munich), Vivica Genaux began an American career that was essentially Rossinian, and given the dizzying moniker ‘the new Marilyn Horne.’  This first recital of bel canto material, following the homage to Farinelli that René Jacobs concocted for her, rightfully turns back the clock [i.e., to her earlier reputation for bel canto].  Incontestably, the voice and the technique are there: the beautifully produced vocalises, the thoughtful and never gratuitous ornamentation, the perfectly mastered breath control, the timbre that isn’t distorted in the lower register, which is meaty, full, and natural.  It was clear from the Farinelli disc that this was an instrument on a high level, even of a high culture. She goes beyond that to take one’s breath away, especially in the most dazzling Rossini.”
Pierre Flinois, Classica, November 2003

“She [Genaux] might be the most exciting singer in the world.  Sinewy but lithe, her voice encompasses a wine-rich chest register, juiced up with just enough testosterone to keep things interesting, as well as luminous high notes that would do many a soprano proud.  Her Italian is crisp and peppery, and she rips through pages of runs and embellishments with jaw-dropping ease.”

“Her version of Arsace’s aria from Semiramide is among the finest ever recorded, with her voice darting and weaving through Rossini’s splendid wind writing to dazzling effect.”
“In short, it’s a compulsively enjoyable recital, but beware: This is a disc that can only leave you wanting more.”
Marion Lignana Rosenberg, Time Out New York, September 18-25, 2003

“Her Farinelli disc put Vivica Genaux on the map.  Now these arias, with her virtuosic voice, from the warm depths to the tender and glistening upper reaches of her range, Genaux now enters the ranks of great international singers.”
A.U., Ensemble, December 2003

“With her new disc, Bel Canto Arias, Vivica Genaux steps out of the shadows as a singer only known to connoisseurs and into the well-deserved spotlight of a full-fledged world career.”
A.U., Tonart, October 2003

“She sings bel canto with a creamy, natural tone and with such effortless coloratura flights, that one truly thinks her voice can fly.”
A.U., Deutsches Ärzteblatt, November 22, 2003

“Alaska-born Vivica Genaux has become a mezzo of choice for the bel canto repertory – the baroque works of Handel along with the early 19th-Century operas of Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti.  The latter two composers are represented on the present recital, which includes standards and rarities in engaging performances accompanied by the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris under John Nelson.

In addition to a vocal technique that would have been the envy of many a ‘Golden Age’ diva, Genaux has a distinctive color to her sound and character in her phrasing.  She doesn’t sound like anyone else, even in a popular favorite such as ‘Una voce poco fa’ (from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville).  With a deep, vibrant low and with high notes like a soprano (but no break in between), she makes it clear that Rosina, for example, is a lady to be reckoned with, while she manages to jump the coloratura hurdles with ease and add a fair share of stylish ornaments.
She brings the heroines of Rossini’s La Cenerentola and The Italian Woman in Algiers vividly to life as well, deftly changing timbre and presentation for trouser roles in arias from The Lady of the Lake and Semiramide.  Her fast fioritura is so startlingly accurate that I had to play some passages over to be sure I really did hear all those notes in that space of time.
When it comes to Donizetti, she renders the drinking song from Lucrezia Borgia with a verve and variety of tonal colors that evoke oldtime mezzos who recorded this showpiece: Sigrid Onegin and Ernestine Schumann-Heink.  The remaining Donizetti arias are of lesser musical interest, but Genaux nevertheless delivers them for all they’re worth.”
Robert Croan, October 20, 2003,
KSHB-TV (Kansas City, MO), Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel, Corpus Christi (TX) Caller Times, Abilene (TX) Reporter News, Wichita Falls (TX) Times Record, Record Searchlight (Redding, CA),

“Operaphiles can breathe easily.  Vivica Genaux – the Alaska-born powder-keg mezzo-soprano who’s sung in four San Diego Opera productions since 1997 – is a worthy successor to the pretty-much-retired Marilyn Horne, arguably the world’s foremost bel canto mezzo of the past four decades.  All Genaux, who will be back in San Diego in 20065 as Sesto Pompeo in Handel’s Julius Caesar in Egypt, needs is a bit more volume to her wonderfully controlled voice so brilliantly showcased in this recording’s 10 arias and/or scenas by Rossini and Donizetti.

Her most dazzling roulades, arpeggios and trills are evident in ‘Mura felici’ from La Donna del Lago and ‘Eccomi alfine in Babilonia…Ah! Quel giorno ognor rammento’ from Semiramide.  Beautiful singing, indeed.”
Preston Turegano, San Diego Union-Tribune, November 6, 2003

“The brilliant young American mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux - still unfortunately known to local audiences only through her recordings - makes a wonderful splash with this new collection of bel canto arias by Rossini and Donizetti.  She’s a dashing sort of singer, combining the slightly unruly temperament of an old-style diva with the clean delivery and conscientious technique of the modern American singer.

Coloratura display is her strong point, and in the glittery Rossini showpieces from Cenerentola, Semiramide, The Barber of Seville and others, she lets fly with plenty of vocal pyrotechnics.”  “…a largely impressive and hugely appealing release.”
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, October 5, 2003

“After her remarkable homage to Farinelli on harmonia mundi (ranked a 10 in Répertoire, No. 158), one impatiently awaited the new recital from Vivica Genaux.  Here it is, on Virgin this time, entirely dedicated to Rossini and Donizetti, two composers whom the young America mezzo-soprano has regularly served since her first appearances onstage.  From beginning to end, the singer’s technical mastery is astonishingly impressive, virtuoso throughout her range, never trapped by a roulade, by the leap of an interval or by a grupetto.”
Richard Martet, Répertoire, October 2003

“A healthy beauty, a shining face and a voice possessed of a rare sensuality – here is the new star brought to us by Virgin Records.  Vivica Genaux sings arias that are well-known, but ideal for judging the quality of a voice.  And the voice of this young mezzo will surely seduce you in selections from operas by Donizetti and Rossini, particularly in La Cenerentola.”
Author Unknown, La Nouvelle République du Centre-Ouest, October 22, 2003

“Today Vivica Genaux is one of the leading interpreters of the Bel Canto and Baroque repertoires.”  “She has become a celebrated star throughout Europe and America.”
A.U., Men Style, Summer 2005

“Her vocal dexterity, expression and beauty of tone are phenomenal.”
A.U., Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, January 17, 2004

“She is treasured not only because of her vocal virtuosity, but also for her theatrical flair.”
A.U., Applaus, November 27, 2004

“…Like a fine pearl necklace of notes…” 
“Genaux demonstrates that she is equally capable of sculpting sounds of boldness and the finest delicacy with the dexterity of an expert glassblower.”
Christoph Vratz, Fono Forum, November 2003

“With her smooth silvery voice, she reminds one of the young Marilyn Horne.”
Jürgen Kesting, Rondo, October 2003

“Today she belongs among the ranks of the leading interpreters of the Baroque and bel canto repertoires.”
A.U., Der Musikmarkt, October 10, 2003

“This young mezzo-soprano garnered attention last year for a CD of arias for the castrato Farinelli.  This year, she devotes herself to two masters of bel canto, Rossini and Donizetti.  Vivica Genaux shows off her talent and versatility, managing these Italian arias with remarkable warmth and mastery.”
Author Unknown, Écho d’Aujourd’hui, November-December 2003

“Custom-made for the trouser roles of which Marilyn Horne made a specialty, she possesses an evenly emitted voice that melds a warm tone with coloratura dispatched with much aplomb.”
A.U., Neue Westfälische / Bielefelder Tageblatt, January 24, 2004